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Hills, beaches and roads mobbed as Scots head out of lockdown at last

© Andrew CawleyCrowds of people climbing up to the summit of Conic Hill on Loch Lomnd, as lockdown restrictions are eased and people are now allowed to leave their local areas.
Crowds of people climbing up to the summit of Conic Hill on Loch Lomnd, as lockdown restrictions are eased and people are now allowed to leave their local areas.

Scots hit the road yesterday to sample their first taste of weekend freedom since coronavirus restrictions were eased.

Queues of cars formed on major routes towards the coast and popular beauty spots as people flocked to enjoy the great outdoors.

Warm sunshine fuelled people’s desire to escape to the seaside and there was heavy traffic on the M77 on the way to beaches in Ayrshire and a 10-mile tailback on the approach to Largs.

Ferry operator CalMac advised people hoping to make the trip across to the isle of Cumbrae that the “volume of traffic” was leading to delays.

Traffic Scotland also warned about busy roads on the way to Tinto Hill and at the Queensferry crossing heading towards Fife.

Car parks in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park filled up by mid-morning, with cars then pictured lining grass verges.

© Andrew Cawley
Crowds at Conic Hill.

Tickets were issued by Stirling Council enforcement officers after cars were left outside marked bays in Balmaha on the shore of Loch Lomond.

Police closed the B-road from Drymen to Balmaha to visitors yesterday afternoon as parked cars were causing safety issues.

But people were determined to make the most of their freedom and the spring weather as a stream of walkers were photographed making their way up the nearby Conic Hill.

Portobello beach in Edinburgh was also busy, and a businessman who represents hospitality venues in the area said it could mark a resurgence in the popularity of Scottish seaside resorts.

Bob Jefferson said the combination of travel restrictions being lifted and good weather had turned the resort into “Costa del Porty”.

He added: “Portobello is busier now than it has been since the 1950s. It is incredibly busy now. When the sun shines, people just want to come to Portobello.

“I’d like to think that this could lead to a renaissance in Scottish resorts, not just Portobello.”

Ice cream seller David Miele also did a roaring trade in Aviemore, where temperatures peaked at around 15 degrees.

He said: “The sun is shining, queues are forming and people are in great spirits to be out and about.”

More visitors are expected again today, though rain is forecast in western areas.

Restrictions in Scotland were eased on Friday to allow people to travel further afield and socialise outdoors in groups of no more than six adults from six households.

Scotland recorded two more deaths from coronavirus and another 210 positive cases in the latest figures released yesterday.

The global death toll has now topped three million people as the worldwide vaccination roll-out has suffered setbacks.